Sunday, June 30, 2013

President Obama Delivers Remarks at University of Cape Town

hat tip-The Obama Diary

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The First Family Arrives in Capetown

President Obama speaking to the students and citizens at University of Cape Town. Watch it live here. We'll post full video and photos when available.

President Obama speech Cape Town South Africa-Audio

The First Family Visits Robben Island

President Obama visits the Robben Island prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment.

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Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama,  Leslie Robinson, Marian Robinson, Ahmed Kathrada

From left, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, Ahmed Kathrada, former prisoner with Nelson Mandela guiding the tour, U.S. President Back Obama, Marian Robinson and Leslie Robinson, look out over the courtyard of the prison on Robben Island, South Africa, Sunday, June 30, 2013. Former South African president Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year prison term on the island locked up by the former apartheid government.

---AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


US President Barack Obama (R), and First Lady Michelle Obama (2L) listen to former prisoner Ahmed Kathrada with Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson (L) as they tour the limestone quarry where prisoners worked on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa on June 30, 2013. President Barack Obama was "deeply humbled" by a visit to the cell where Nelson Mandela spent years as a prisoner, in a solemn homage Sunday to the critically ill hero he was unable to see in Pretoria.

---SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama, second from left, and the first family tour a rock quarry where Robben Island prisoners once worked near Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, June 30, 2013. Robben Island is an historic Apartheid-era prison that held black political prisoners including former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. From left, tour guide Ahmed Kathrada, Obama, daughter Sasha, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughter Malia.

---AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Robben Island Jail Obama Visits Mandela Cell

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President Barack Obama and his family listen to Robben Island prison guide Ahmed Kathrada, who was an inmate with Nelson Mandela

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The First Family in South Africa

Cannot give enough thanks for The Obama Diary, which has done such a fabulous job of covering not only this Overseas Trip, but every other Overseas Trip of President Obama, while the MSM has done a blackout.

The President and First Lady arrive for an official state dinner in Pretoria with President Zuma and First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma.

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The First Lady's Google Hangout

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The President had a Town Hall with young African leaders.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

The First Family Arrives in South Africa

Hat tip-The Obama Diary:

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The First Family in Senegal- More Images

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

The First Family visited Goree Island while in Senegal.

US President Obama and daughter Malia arrive at Goree Island in Dakar

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and his daughter Malia (L) arrive at Goree Island, a former slave trader's port, June 27, 2013 in Dakar. Obama's trip, his second to the continent as president, will take him to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

REUTERS/Gary Cameron

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U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama receive a bouquet as they arrive on Goree Island near Dakar

U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama receive a bouquet as they arrive on Goree Island near Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013. Obama visited the island on Thursday where African slaves in past centuries were shipped west.

---REUTERS/Jason Reed


US President Barack Obama (L) and First Lady Michelle Obama look out from the Door of No Return while touring the House of Slaves, or Maison des Esclaves, at Goree Island off the coast of Dakar on June 27, 2013. Obama and his family toured the museum at the site where African slaves were held before going through the door and being shipped off the continent as slaves.


U.S. President Barack Obama greets well-wishers during his visit to Goree Island near Dakar

U.S. President Barack Obama greets well-wishers during his visit to Goree Island near Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013. Obama visited the island on Thursday where African slaves in past centuries were shipped west.

--REUTERS/Jason Reed

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The wonderful zizi wrote some words about the people of Senegal.

A Note About the People of Senegal

Teranga means “Welcome” in Wolof, the predominant language. And the people living on this Westernmost bulge of the African continent truly are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever know. Climactically, however, Senegal is the Western Hemisphere’s house of horrors, as many of our hurricanes are birthed off Senegal’s coast when hot dry Sahara and Sahel winds meet southerly cold North Atlantic winds plus moisture from the warm Atlantic Ocean currents, The ITCZ clash zone known as The Doldrums , to form the building blocks of storms

. Yet nothing takes one’s breath away more than standing on the craggy Senegalese coast in the evening and seeing the copper-gold sunset over the rambunctious Atlantic ocean. No wonder Senegal’s world famous poet and first post-colonial President, Leopold Senghor, called this land his “Childhood Kingdom” whose heartbeat is the Tam Tam (talking drum).

Senghor’s eyes, though were mesmerized by the beauty of Senegalese women. His famously erotic poem, Black Woman, published in his 1948 Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache , became a historical landmark for placing the African woman on a pedestal as a worthy model of beauty, thus challenging the centuries-old denigration of black women as antithesis of ideal white femininity.

“Naked woman, black woman

Dressed in your color that is life, in your form that is beauty!

I grew up in your shadow. The softness of your hands

Shielded my eyes, and now at the height of Summer and Noon,

From the crest of a charred hilltop I discover you, Promised Land

And your beauty strikes my heart like an eagle’s lightning flash.


Naked woman, dark woman

Oil no breeze can ripple, oil soothing the thighs

Of athletes and the thighs of the princes of Mali

Gazelle with celestial limbs, pearls are stars

Upon the night of your skin. delight of the mind’s riddles,

The reflections of red gold from your shimmering skin

In the shade of your hair, my despair

Lightens in the close suns of your eyes.”

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with African drummers on Goree Island near Dakar

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with African drummers on Goree Island near Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013. Obama visited the island on Thursday where African slaves in past centuries were shipped west.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More from the First Family in Senegal

The First Family is still in Senegal. Some more pics.

Hat tips-The Obama Diary, News24:

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President Obama looks out of the “door of no return” during a tour of the ‘House of Slaves’ on Goree Island

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The First Family Continues in Senegal

President Obama and Senegal President Sall shake hands after their joint news conference at Presidential Palace in Dakar

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs students at Martin Luther King middle school, an all-girls school in Dakar, Senegal, June 27

President Barack Obama greets Senegalese President Macky Sall as U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Senegalese First Lady Mariame Faye Sall look on, at the presidential palace in Dakar, Senegal June 27

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The First Family Lands in Africa: First Stop- Senegal

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

The First Family is visiting Africa- first stop, Senegal.

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by @zizii2

“THERE is no shortage of economic growth in Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. A clutch of countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007.”

Nothing demonstrates the vapidity of the corporate media than the rancid ignorance they display when they are gung-ho to score cheap shots at President Obama on important matters, rather than do basic research!!!

And so it is that on undertaking a long overdue working visit to three countries on the continent of Africa, the corporate media including FOXNews universe display once again the national embarrassment that they have become. But for the fact that they’d bleat about threats to their “First Amendment Rights”, I’d rather Pres Obama left them behind to indulge in muffin stories and similar shiny objects they chase best. Foreign media ALWAYS outshine ours anyway, so their absence would actually improve the media pool at these foreign pressers. And the public would be better informed for it.

So cynical journos like David Nakamura of @WAPO , and colleagues at AtlanticWire @NYT , Moonie News, @ABC, @NBC, @MSNBC, @CBS, @CNN, @FOX, @YahooNews, here are 12 FACTS to get into their heads before they utter any more inanities about the President’s trip to Africa, and carping endlessly about “costs of trip” versus sequestered White House tours. Without the 80% of Coltan produced from the Congo belt running your iPhone/iPad or other tablet LED screens, they’d be pecking away at an old typewriter (well, assuming even the steel in the machine’s housing isn’t from African iron ore).

We are talking about Africa in the 21st Century, not some Henry Stanley 19th century racist travelogue you read about “natives doing quaint tribal dances”, or as the late Literary maestro Chinua Achebe snarkily penned at the end of his seminal novel Things Fall Apart, the colonizer’s version of history in which the indigenous African only warrants a passing line about his own history. No we are talking about a forward moving continent, warts and all that brooks no nonsense from anybody, superpower or not!


To be honest President Obama’s travel to the continent of Africa is at best being perceived as a face-saving effort, as many on the continent are not impressed with the scant attention he has paid to African countries. The most favorable observation is that at least he has left the continent alone to chart its own course without the undue meddling of Cold War America or condescending administrations that followed the collapse of the battle between superpowers.

While there is some loud grumbling about the fact that America’s obsession with the “War on Terror” and recent variations in the Maghreb (Libya, Algeria, Tunisia), Sahel (Mali) occludes every other subject during bilateral and multilateral talks

If many of you remember, President Obama promised to engage actively with the continent’s innovative thinkers during the seminal White House Townhall with Young African Leaders.

Read the rest of this informative piece at the link above.  

President Obama Gives His Plans on Climate Change

President Barack Obama outlined a long-awaited plan to tackle climate change, which included new regulations on power plants and protections for coastlines against sea level rise. In a speech at Georgetown University, Mr. Obama announced a presidential action plan to launch the first-ever federal regulations on carbon dioxide emitted by existing power plants.

The State of Things

Camille is a brilliant poster over at Pragmatic Obots Unite.

She routinely drops wonderful knowledge.

Last night, she dropped this.

CamilleCamille •

I haven't been this sad in such a long time-

How anyone can look at what the Supreme court did today and feel good about, or comfortable with it - How any of these justices can sleep tonight or look themselves in the mirror in the morning--?

Even Mitch McConnell stuttered, stammered and fidgeted and couldn't even look straight into the camera as he uncomfortably commented - and only as the lone person who even "bothered" to do so - as he stood with some members of his caucus.

In a time when the election and re-election of a black president plainly exposed the worst of America's racist underbelly - forcing a vast majority of racists out of hibernation - and inspiring and initiating a whole new generation of hardcore racists along the way--

Emboldened and egged on by the support, backing and at the exploitative urging of some known and faceless mercenary oil and Wall street billionaires and their media gofers looking to mischievously stoke racial prejudices, discontent and distrust of this president in particular, and government in general, only so that while people are consumed with these distractions, they swoop in like the vultures they are, completely take over and pillage whatever little they don't already own and control--

In a time when the first black President and First Lady have been so disrespected in such unbelievable and unprecedented ways, and still without any provocation on their part, subjected to an endless barrage of vicious, hateful and dehumanizing attacks designed to penetrate and strip and diminish their being and destroy their spirits-

In a time when a Sikh is killed for the heck of it, and only because some ignorant racist mistook him for a "Muslim terrorist"-- and a 4th generation American kid is snatched up off the streets and deported to Mexico because they're certain that with her dark olive skin she's got to be "illegal"--

In a time when people are brazenly defending the deeply-held and incredibly harmful racist hankerings of a sly old southern bigot-- and publicly raising funds for and defending the cold-blooded murderer of an innocent young black boy--

In a time when people blatantly pretend not to be able to easily distinguish between the voice of a grown man -- and the undeniable screams for help of a petrified and still growing and developing adolescent boy whose still transitioning breaking voice can be easily identified by the punctuations of modulating pitch - warbling and high one second - and croaky and low the next--

In such a time as this, with everything pointing to still prevalent, entrenched and many insurmountable racist mindsets and societal structures -- in such a time as this, we are told by the Supreme court of the United States, led by a man whose life ambition has always been to do away with as much of the life-saving Civil Rights Act, the VRA just being a start -

We are told that our very dysfunctional and delicate Union is just fine and dandy -- and that this most important law which has for years largely guarded the few essential rights of the minority - and made for progress and fairness in an organically inequitable nation -- that this law is no longer necessary---

The oil and Wall street bought racist justices and their token black robe, doing double duty, took away the single most important law in our Democracy only stopping long enough to tell us that we've now overcome - even as the racism grows and plays out each minute on our streets, capitol, in our media and every facet of our society--

Even as their partners in crime at the various State legislatures are busy quickly turning back the hands of time to their preferred nostalgic era -- the era when coloured people knew their place and Paula Deen's great, great, grand pappy was happy and content and had not an inkling that his hardworking slaves were ever going to walk free - and that he'd die out of desperation at his own hands with his suicide avenged by his racist, slave-driving great, great, grand daughter in 2013 ---

How ironic she's outed in the very same week the supreme justices told us times had changed and then proceeded to do the most important bidding of their monied and racist owners---

Interesting times--

another brilliant comment: nathkatun7

I was 19 years when the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed and signed into law. Like every one in the 60s, I regarded the Act as a monumental achievement although it had come at a terrible cost. Precious lives were lost in the struggle to secure voting rights. Today's Supreme Court decision hit me so hard that I had decided not to say or write anything.

I spent the day trying to reflect on this horrible day. Five men of the highest court in the country, in a decision without precedent, erased one of the most important achievements of the Black Freedom Struggle, which was earned as a result of the sacrifices of so many people, many of whom are no longer with us. But then I realized that what happened today, though horrible, is no where near the horrors that our ancestors had to endure without ever giving up or losing hope.

If our ancestors could endure 244 years of slavery and more than100 years of Jim Crow, then this too shall pass. Re-watching Dr. King's speech, at the conclusion of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, renewed my determination to press on.

Today was pay back day by the right wingers on the Court because we showed up twice, in unprecedented numbers, to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. I hope we will pay the right wingers back by showing up in even greater numbers, in 2014, to defeat right wing Republicans at all levels of government. We especially need to focus on the importance of electing members of Congress who are committed to undo today's Supreme Court abomination.

In Texas, the Democrats Stopped a Draconian Anti-Abortion Bill from being put into law

In Texas, they wanted to pass a draconian anti-abortion bill.

A lone State Senator, Wendy Davis, stood on the Texas State Senate floor, with no breaks – for 11 hours, filibustering the bill.

She succeeded.

The Dems ran out the clock in Texas on that draconian anti-abortion law.

Of course, the GOP tried to lie and cheat and say that it passed…because, that’s WHO THEY ARE.



TIMESTAMPGATE: After A Crazy Night, This Photograph Helped Kill A Controversial Texas Abortion Bill


It was a crazy night in Texas politics that ended just before 4 AM Central Time, with a controversial abortion bill (that would have shut down the majority of Texas clinics) getting killed at the last minute.

Carolyn Jones at The Texas Observer has a great writeup of what went down, but it was basically this.

- snip –

That’s when pro-choice activists in the chamber started shouting, and created enough chaos so that the state Senate couldn’t vote by midnight, which was the end of the legislative session.. The final vote to pass the bill happened just after midnight at 12:03.

However, Republicans claimed that the vote got in before midnight.

According to Jones, Republicans had to admit that that they were a few minutes late on the bill, when Texas State Senator Juan Chuy Hinojosa tweeted this photo showing that the initial readout of the vote indicated it happened on June 26, but that a subsequent readout had been changed, showing June 25.

The initial time stamp on the Capitol website and on Senate documents placed the vote at 12:02 or 12:03 on June 26. But then someone mysteriously changed the time stamp to make it appear SB 5 passed before the deadline (see the post below for photographic evidence). The time stamp evidence, circulated on Twitter, eventually forced GOP leaders to admit defeat, at least for tonight.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Act...Slave Catcher on Supreme Court doesn't think they went far enough

In case you've been under a rock, the Supreme Court gutted Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

In a 5-4 decision, they declared it unconstitutional.

What this means:

From The Plum Line Blog

Supreme Court gives big boost to `war on voting’

By Greg Sargent, Published: June 25, 2013 at 12:05 pmE-mail the writer

The Supreme Court just struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, ruling that the requirement that many states across the south get prior federal approval for voting law changes is unconstitutional.

The substance of the decision, which split the court five to four, will be widely picked over, so I wanted to focus instead on the practical consequences of it going forward. Voting rights advocates expect the decision to give a major boost to efforts by conservatives across the country to pass laws restricting access to the franchise — which Dems and voting rights advocates refer to as the “war on voting.”

The Court ruled that when Congress reauthorized the law in 2006 — which was done by overwhelming majorities and signed by President George W. Bush — that its requirement for “pre-clearance” of state laws, i.e., Section 5, was based on an outdated formula.

But Section 5, among many other things, helped stall two state-level initiatives designed to restrict voting during the 2012 cycle, and to mitigate a third, according to Wendy Weiser, a voting rights attorney for the Brennan Center for Justice. Weiser notes that Section Five blocked a Texas voter ID law; blocked changes to early voting in Florida that might have disproportionately impacted African Americans; and caused South Carolina to “dramatically mitigate” a voter ID law that ended up far less “harsh and restrictive” than its original provision.

“Voters have lost one of their most potent tools to fight back against discriminatory voting laws and efforts to suppress votes,” Weiser says. “This was one of the primary bulwarks against discriminatory voting laws. It was by far our most effective tool to stop voting discrimination.”

The Brennan Center believes that the striking down of Section 5 will lead states to revisit voting restrictions that have been blocked, and will increase the odds that current pending restrictions will ultimately pass. The Brennan Center recently issued a report detailing a surprisingly large number of initiatives that could be revived or will more likely become law in states previously impacted by Section 5.

“If Section 5 is struck down, jurisdictions may seek to revive these and other previously-blocked election changes,” the Brennan report says. “We may see jurisdictions attempt to move forward with discriminatory voting changes that were abandoned, or never finally adopted, because the jurisdictions realized such changes would likely draw a Section Five objection.”

To be sure, the ruling does not leave voting rights advocates without any tools to continue the fight. As Josh Gerstein explained:

The ruling does not nullify the Voting Rights Act in its entirety. Citizens and the Justice Department still have the power to sue under the law in federal court to block practices that could make it harder for minority voters to vote or dilute their political power.

However, the high court’s decision effectively shifts the burden in such litigation in the so-called covered jurisdictions, requiring those bringing such cases to prove discriminatory intent or impact. Until Tuesday, the states and local communities covered by Section 5 had the obligation to prove that any changes would not harm minority voting rights or power.

But to voting rights advocates, the mere fact that Section 5 invalidated initiatives restricting voting as recently as last year shows that the formula Congress used to determine the need for a burden of proof of non-discrimination to be placed on jurisdictions is not outdated at all.


Here is the statement from The President:

statement by president on vra

The Statement from The Attorney General

The Slave Catcher on the Supreme Court didn't think the ruling went far enough.


He thought that Section 5 should be declared unconstitutional too.